Robust stability and mission performance of a CubeSat orbiting the didymos binary asteroid system

Fodde, Iosto and Feng, Jinglang and Riccardi, Annalisa and Vasile, Massimiliano (2023) Robust stability and mission performance of a CubeSat orbiting the didymos binary asteroid system. Acta Astronautica, 203. pp. 577-591. ISSN 0094-5765 (

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The dynamics of a CubeSat orbiting a binary asteroid system can be quite complex due to the irregular gravitational fields of the two bodies and the significant effect of the Solar radiation pressure. Furthermore, the large distance to Earth and the small size of the bodies result in difficulties in the observational process and brings about significant uncertainties in the modelling of the dynamics. In this work, the robust stability and mission performance of orbits in a binary asteroid system under uncertainty are studied with three novel dynamics indicators. The uncertainty in the dynamics is propagated with a polynomial algebra over the space of Taylor polynomials and the indicators are derived from the coefficients of the propagated polynomials. These indicators are found to show accurately the regions of robust stability and bounded motion around Didymos. In addition to the indicators, the observability of Dimorphos for different initial conditions is also studied. The analysis shows a correspondence between the level of robust stability and the size of the observability bounds, albeit the geometry of certain orbits limits the potential maximum observability.


Fodde, Iosto, Feng, Jinglang ORCID logoORCID:, Riccardi, Annalisa ORCID logoORCID: and Vasile, Massimiliano ORCID logoORCID:;